Tuesday, April 24, 2012

National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing

Consider signing this resolution against high-stakes testing.  This is what we have been advocating for in Texas for a very long time.  In fact, this blog is born out of this struggle.  It's important to address high-stakes testing because of its lack of validity, fairness, and injuriousness to youth.

Specifically, we have struggled for a "compensatory" multiple criteria system where low test scores are offset by other criteria that represent a showing of students' abilities. A "conjunctive" multiple criteria system is where various criteria are used but where students' test performance is the decisive hurdle since it can neither be offset by the other criteria, nor by any other showing of students' abilities. In Texas, after close to a decade-long struggle in 2009, House Bill 3 (the best part of this otherwise hugely problematic legislation that creates an accountability system called STAAR) ended high stakes testing (not testing, but the high stakes associated with them [i.e., retention in grade]) 300,000 third graders in the state of Texas. LULAC has largely led this struggle in Texas and State Representative Dora Olivo (who is running for re-election, by the way!) was our champion in this effort. Here is how these children are now evaluated:

"Beginning in the 2009-10 academic year, Section 28.021 of the Texas Education Code will begin requiring districts and schools to consider multiple criteria assessment for all third grade children. This revision to state code removes the high stakes associated with performance on the third-grade, standardized state exams. Children will now be holistically assessed based on factors such as grades, attendance, classroom performance, teacher assessment, parent input, and test performance."

You can find the actual language here:


Sí se puede! Yes we can! 


National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing

WHEREAS, our nation's future well-being relies on a high-quality public education system that prepares all students for college, careers, citizenship and lifelong learning, and strengthens the nation's social and economic well-being; and
WHEREAS, our nation's school systems have been spending growing amounts of time, money and energy on high-stakes standardized testing, in which student performance on standardized tests is used to make major decisions affecting individual students, educators and schools; and
WHEREAS, the over-reliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems is undermining educational quality and equity in U.S. public schools by hampering educators' efforts to focus on the broad range of learning experiences that promote the innovation, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and deep subject-matter knowledge that will allow students to thrive in a democracy and an increasingly global society and economy; and
WHEREAS, it is widely recognized that standardized testing is an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness; and
WHEREAS, the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate; and
WHEREAS, high-stakes standardized testing has negative effects for students from all backgrounds, and especially for low-income students, English language learners, children of color, and those with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, the culture and structure of the systems in which students learn must change in order to foster engaging school experiences that promote joy in learning, depth of thought and breadth of knowledge for students; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that [your organization name] calls on the governor, state legislature and state education boards and administrators to reexamine public school accountability systems in this state, and to develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools; and
RESOLVED, that [your organization name] calls on the U.S. Congress and Administration to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as the "No Child Left Behind Act," reduce the testing mandates, promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality in accountability, and not mandate any fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators.

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